I remember as a little girl (it started in fifth grade), I just wanted to fit in. I wanted to have the right clothes, ride the cool bike, say the right things, of course I never did. I was different. I didn’t love dolphins, didn’t like dresses and when it came time to play outside, I didn’t really want to play on the swings, I wanted to pretend to be a Russian orphan on the lam (preferably on roller skates.)

I played alone. A lot.

As I got older I wasn’t ready to do things when other people were. I didn’t have boyfriends in 3rd, 4th, 7th, or 9th grade. I kept my t-shirts untucked and my shoulders a bit hunched, uncomfortable with the parts of me that were becoming more feminine (or not.)

My first kiss came unexpectedly at 16 and losing my virginity well, it wasn’t with him and it wasn’t for a long time. I tried to fit into molds or at least really embrace mine, but I only ever really knew what I didn’t like.

“But what do you love?”

I never could answer that, not with music, study or activity. I graduated, traveled, got a degree, worked, dated some truly unloveable heels and then stalled. Wasn’t loving the job, wasn’t loving the life. Then I met someone who saw me completely differently. And everything changed, I began to consider things differently.

I quit smoking.

I started writing again.

I had three kids in four years.

I stopped apologizing for not loving the things people expected.

Finding my way and discovering my love has at once broadened and sharpened my focus. My desire in fifth grade to fit in had more to do with not upsetting the calm than it did making myself happy. I learned at the fingertips of a toddler and the hands of a lover that my crooked tooth, my freckled arms, my hazel eyes and my goofy ways are exactly why I do fit. My world, my passion, that’s what I love.

What is your world?